Question from the new guy :)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by FlipperCJD, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. FlipperCJD macrumors newbie

    Dec 21, 2010
    Hello all!

    I have been creeping on these forums for a while now, and felt it was time to finally make an account.

    I recently made the switch to go to Mac exclusively and have a few questions about the Mac Pro that maybe you guys can answer.

    I need a workstation for home, I am really a jack of all trades at my work... and I use my mac book air for school and work... but it does not run smoothly when video editing and/or minimal website editing.

    I will be getting a Mac Pro so I can handle these tasks... and maybe do some occasional gaming :D

    So anyway, as far as the questions go.

    1). I see a lot of talk of "SandyBridge".... what is that... should I wait for it...:confused:

    2). I am looking at a 12 core unit, is this overkill for CS5 and Final Cut Studio?

    3). I have the Samsung 3 screen display.....the 5870 is a good card.. right? Is it powerful enough to run three monitors for gaming? I know it can, but is it powerful enough to play lets say.... XXXX Total War... as those are the only games I really play.

    4). When do you think the Mac Pro will get another update? Should I wait? Do you think they will bring a new GPU along with the update?

    5). For what I have listed I will be doing, what system do you guys think I should get?
  2. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    1. it's just a newer architecture of processors, but I wouldn't wait for it in the MPs, as it will probably be 8 months or more, and they are very powerful as is.

    2. 12 core is overkill for that, especially if you're used to a MBA. Only reason to have a 12 core is if you make a good living with it, or have disposable income. I'd go with 6-core at most for your uses.

    3. I'm not entirely sure, although I do know it's a good card. I'd either go that route, or dual 5770s

    4. Probably just the 6000 series AMDs, I wouldn't wait, as it isn't even halfway through the normal cycle yet.

    5. I would go with either the 3.2 quad or 6-core, and you may want to search around for what GPU configuration would be better for that, as I'm not big into gaming.
  3. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    I agree with alust2013...

    A Mac Pro refresh is probably 8-10 months away. New GPU's are hard to predict but usually come with the Mac Pro refresh.

    I would recommend a 3.2 Quad and put some cash into some RAM and an SSD or two.
  4. iWolf00 macrumors member

    Jul 7, 2010
    I may give you clue about gaming on Mac Pro (mine is 2009 model, ATI 4870). I am using my MP for gaming under windows through Bootcamp. I have all TW series installed at my system and I play them with very high setting and resolution of 1920 X 1080.

    I am not sure about MP handling games with three screen attached. I suggest asking hardcore gamers; at any windows forum; about performance of single ATI 5870 on gaming at multiple screens, they must have answer about it.
  5. peskaa macrumors 68020


    Mar 13, 2008
    London, UK
    1. No, as a Mac Pro refresh with SB is quite a way off
    2. Yes. You'll be fine with a Quad, or if you're really rolling in cash, the Hex
    3. Yes. I play the Total War series maxed out on my 5870.
    4. See question 1. Late 2011, and yes, there will be new GPUs, but GPUs are upgradable.
    5. 3.2Ghz Quad, 8-12GB RAM, 5870
  6. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    I've seen a Windows machine with a 5870 handling 3 30" displays (Eyefinity) in games just fine on very high settings and native resolution of 7680x1600.

    There are several videos on youtube. Just search for Eyefinity and 5870.
  7. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    To extend on the subject of how many cores you should be buying, you have to ask yourself how involved you would be in rendering out of FCS and Adobe CS5. The 12-core machines are very expensive. Would you be rendering projects frequently and getting paid for them? If the answer is no, I would agree with others here and look at the 4- or 6-core model, or perhaps the 8-core if you really think you need the 8 DIMM memory capacity.

    The 6-core is pretty popular option for the casual content creator, as it's a good balance between raw clock speed and core count.

    I think the biggest point we're all trying to make is that $5k+ is an awful lot of money to spend for potentially unharnessed processing power and you may see more value in putting the money saved with the lesser models towards upgrades that actually make a big difference, like SSDs and a faster GPU.
  8. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Multicore helps when you are doing rendering or compressing. 12 cores is a bit overkill though, unless you're rolling in cash. 4 cores will get you by fine, 8 cores is the sweet spot (I haven't ever worked with a 6 core for video editing, but I'm assuming it would also work well).

    Make sure to get 8 gigs of RAM or more, and the Radeon 5870 is a good upgrade.

    I would STRONGLY advise against running more than one display from one card for video editing. It cuts your VRAM in half, and I've seen this bring machines below the VRAM requirements for some GPU accelerated video editing software. It leads to a bunch of weird errors and breakage. It's not as much a speed problem as much as it is a total memory problem.

    If you are doing two displays, get a 5870 and a GT120 to drive the second display, or two 5770s.
  9. FlipperCJD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 21, 2010
    First off,

    Thank you for all the help guys! :)

    I posted in a windows gaming forum and got slammed by some jerkoff's about being a


    You guys all seem very friendly, again thank you!

    As far as needs go I will explain it further.

    I work as an Internet Sales Manager for a pair of Car Dealerships. I spend most of my time either selling cars or in class... if not I am usually working on our youtube videos, or editing our website in some way. (Changing layouts, creating backgrounds, some flash work)

    Again I use my MBA and it lags when I get into more intensive stuff.

    As far as budget goes, my work will go in half of the purchase..... and it stays at my home. I have no price limit, and have priced some SSD's and Ram.. so I plan on dropping some bank on this system.

    I run a three display monitor....

    That is it.. I know about the ACTIVE displayport issue.

    I also plan on gaming with this as stated earlier, will adding another card slow down a screen.... sorry I am quite slow when it comes to hardware things.....

    Thanks for being so cordial guys.
  10. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    I agree with the comments above.
    1) For the past few years (Nehalem and Westmere), Intel releases consumer versions (Core iN) near the end of the year, and server versions around March/April. MacPro's have historically used server versions of these CPUs. Since we haven't seen the consumer versions yet, it stands to reason that new Mac Pros are a ways out. Based on past products, it will be more awesummer than ever before, and may even speed up your application :)

    2) I'm not sure I would recommend 12 core, even with unlimited funds. Many of the apps (and support apps) are single threaded, and therefore a performance is a function of processor speed. And unless Compressor is correctly configured, you won't max out all the cores anyway. So the 3.33MHz 6-core is a nice option. Spend the savings on SSD, RAID 0, memory, and backup. Application performance is more than CPU.

    3) Good comments above.

    4) Someday. Maybe. Certainly.

    5) 6-core 3.33 GHz, with 16GB memory. Then some sort of RAID (0, 1, or 1+0) for speed and redundancy. This may be more machine than you will need, but will have a long life cycle. Just for comparison sake, I have a 4-core 2.93GHz with Raid 0, 8GB. A client has a 6-core 3.33GHz, SSD and RAID 0 scratch for FCS. His Xbench score is about 2x faster than mine. While a crude benchmark, his system is noticeably faster than mine.
  11. FlipperCJD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 21, 2010

    This may sound really stupid... but what is raid? I searched it on google but could not find any explanation that I understood.....:(
  12. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks. Basically what it does is provides either speed, data redundancy or both of those things (depending on configuration type) using more than one physical drive.

    This article does a pretty good job of explaining the different types of RAID systems. But as a quick reference for common types:

    RAID 0 = "striped" array, using 2 or more disks; improves speed by treating the group of drives as one big volume, but provides no data redundancy

    RAID 1 = "mirrored" array, using 2 disks; provides redundancy by telling one disk to keep a full-time mirrored copy of another disk at a slight performance penalty

    RAID 0+1 (or 1+0) = a hybrid between RAID 0 and RAID 1; two or more striped disks are mirrored to identical ones

    Mac OS X can do the above RAID levels in software using Disk Utility, but higher levels of RAID such as 5 and 6 require dedicated hardware cards.

    RAID 5 = a striped array with parity requiring 3 or more disks; at least two drives are striped with one parity drive (provides both speed and fault tolerance)

    RAID 6 = similar to RAID 5 but with double-parity; requires at least 4 disks to work

    In a nutshell, RAIDs are mostly used as a countermeasure for potential drive failures. In a redundant-type RAID system (like 1, 5 or 6), you can lose a disk and continue to operate until a replacement arrives and is rebuilt.
  13. DELTAsnake macrumors 6502


    Jul 18, 2008
    Sandy Bridge isn't for server chips, they are desktop chips. The next Xeon release will be a revision of the Westmere called Westmere-EX which is actually whats in the Mac Pro right now according to Wikipedia, Apple seems to have had a couple of months exclusive on it.

    All Xeons on Intel's current roadmap are Nehalem/Westmere based not Sandy Bridge based.

    I'm getting a Mac Pro in the new year. The only thing I'm waiting for is Intel's new X25-M's which are higher capacity and will be lower price per gigabyte. they should be officially released as of CES in 2 weeks.
  14. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Sandy Bridge is just the name of the architecture that replaces Nehalem (Westmere is just a die shrink of Nehalem). It will use the 32nm process developed for Westmere.

    So there will be both consumer and enterprise parts for it. They won't be the same however, as they are to be based on different sockets.
    • Consumer parts = LGA1155 (will include a graphics processor on the die; due in Jan 2011)
    • Enterprise part = LGA1356 (1x QPI) - no GPU, due out Q3 2011
    • Enterprise part = LGA2011 (2x QPI) - no GPU, due out Q3/4 2011

    Check here for more information on the sockets (.pdf file).
  15. DELTAsnake macrumors 6502


    Jul 18, 2008
    There are no Sandy Bridge chips on any published Intel server roadmap. The next processor is just a rev of Westmere.
  16. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    It's not published on Intel's site yet, but the information is out there (they've made revelations in trade shows already). Simply put, if you dig, there is information out there from reputable sources (some not too reputable as well).

    Most of what pops up in a quick search, is covering the mobile side (example).

    But there is more information out there (Sandy Bridge wiki is actually a good source; check out the references). ;) And this page does cover the enterprise side (figured the socket diagram images would be helpful - if you didn't look at it, I'd suggest doing so, as it puts the architecture into visual terms <gives a comparitive as to what's there in each socket>).
  17. gpzjock, Dec 24, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2010

    gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    Would an iMac manage for home use or are 3 screens mandatory?

    I see you are already set on a Mac Pro for your home workstation, if you only need 1 huge screen instead of 3 strapped together a single 27" i7 iMac would suffice to do all your video editing and cost about half the price of a super duper hex behemoth. The iMac can run an additional display too I believe.
    Gaming wise a Windows 7 build on that iMac with a SSD for both OS plus your gaming folder and a huge HDD for storage would run Total War fantastically.

    All this for just over £3000 in the UK:

    2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 27" iMac
    4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    1TB Serial ATA Drive + 256GB Solid State Drive
    8x double-layer SuperDrive
    ATI Radeon HD 5750 1GB GDDR5 SDRAM
    Apple Wireless Keyboard (British) & User's Guide (English)
    Magic Mouse

    Final Cut Express preinstalled
    Logic Express preinstalled
    FileMaker Pro 11 preinstalled
    Microsoft Office Mac 2011 - Home and Student Edition
    AppleCare Protection Plan for iMac

    Then buy your own RAM at Crucial to save a fortune and fit yourself (Apple want £800 for 16 GB). Note the raft of preinstalled creative goodies. :D

    By comparison a Hexcore Mac Pro without a screen but the same software comes to just over £5000 :eek:

    One 3.33GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon “Westmere”
    6 GB (3 x 2 GB)
    512GB solid-state drive
    1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive

    ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB
    One 18x SuperDrive

    Magic Mouse
    Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad (British) & User's Guide (English)

    Final Cut Express preinstalled
    Logic Express preinstalled
    FileMaker Pro 11 preinstalled
    Microsoft Office Mac 2011 - Home and Student Edition

    AppleCare Protection Plan for Mac Pro - Auto-enroll
  18. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    He already said price is no object, and generally for video editing it is useful to have independent screens and an upgradable GPU. :)
  19. gpzjock, Dec 25, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2010

    gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    Price no object? Then screw the single Hex core :)

    If you have truly deep pockets then the dual Hex core Mac Pro is the most future proof Mac Pro in the list, with a 512 mb SSD and Raid card it would be a huge upgrade on anything I previously specced.
    Just because the current version of some software is single thread limited doesn't mean future versions will be too and who says you don't want to work on multiple projects at once on your multiple screens.
    Future GFX card upgrades will probably be arriving next year with 6970 and possibly even GTX580 models to choose from, for now the 5870 is king unless you want to run even more screens then a pair of 5770 ones will be the limit. You could crossfire the pair in Windows for gaming.

    You could put about £15,000 into a dual Hex MP without trying too hard, although your firm's accountants might swallow their monocles. :eek:

    I foolishly assumed that saving money would be preferable. :D
  20. FlipperCJD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 21, 2010
    My owner wore a monocle as a joke over a year ago...... he still wears it now!

    Here is the setup I am going for....

    12 core 2.93 Ghz.... obviously clock speed is important if not using all the cores.

    32 Gb of Ram...... ( Will by from OWC...... I plan on running windows in a VM 24/7 unless gaming in which I will run Bootcamp.

    I will do a 2 SSD setup.. one with Windows; the other with Mac OS X. I will also use a 2 HD setup for all media and games.
    (Question... I want to get the Mac Pro Raid Card... but it says I can not with SSDs installed...... can someone explain it to me.)

    ATI Radeon 5870.........

    Twin SuperDrives......

    Total bill is......... A lot of money... all going on the Amex Platinum for the free points...

    Thanks to my work :p
  21. kellen macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    that is a serious machine. Seems like serious overkill as well. Your work is okay with you dropping roughly 7 grand (3500 to them) on a machine that is so overkill for their uses?

    Nice job man. I think the quad would be fine, hex would be me spending other peoples money, as would be 32gb of ram.
  22. FlipperCJD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 21, 2010
    Well I am not sure on these forums rules... but I am basically the "second coming of" to my work.

    Without gloating too much.

    My group was doing about 140-160 total cars per month; we did 325 last month... 220 of those were out of one of our stores. We have had sub 300 months for over a year now. I really have helped bring in the masses.... as well as our sales managers and their aggressive ads.

    My owner loves me like a son, allows me to go to school full time when everyone else is working 60 hour weeks... and is soon to go half in on a computer I don't really need..... :)
  23. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    dunno about 12 cores since just about none of your software will make use of it in the next 6 years, but whatever floats your boat...

    forget about RAID, it's just a needless complication.
  24. kellen macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Just as long as you realize it is overkill. It's not my money, just want to make sure you are making a good decision.
  25. jasone6 macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2008
    "Overkill" is maybe even too light—I'm inclined to say "fairly wasteful." I was just in an Apple Store the other day, joking with the salesperson that my (early 2008) Mac Pro is now almost 3 years old, and it's still the most powerful computer of anyone I know.

    I run CS5 too, and without question, the limitations fall squarely on the software end of things—not my 3-year-old machine. Photoshop can finally use more than 4 GB of RAM, but Illustrator, for example, is limited by itself—not my hardware. The one caveat I'll make is that I'm not an AfterEffects user (yet), and while I do have FCS, I don't use it enough to comment on it.

    My recommendation is to get:
    - the 8-core base model - $3,500
    - 32 GB of RAM (8 x 4GB chips) from OWC - $630
    - 120-GB SSD drive to use as your system/boot volume - $240
    - a 2TB hard drive (to use as internal Time Machine) - $100
    - a pair of 1TB drives (both for data, or one data/one scratch disk) - $120

    That's a bear of a machine for ~$4,700 (before tax)

    Other acessories to consider:
    - UPS/Surge Protector - ~$150
    - Ergotron Display mount/adapter - ~$250 (guessing)
    - desk
    - color calibration system
    - one-on-one training
    - etc. etc.

    If money is truly of no consequence, then I guess go ahead and get a gluttonous machine. I just think that if someone is that generous towards you, you should return the favor by not wasting his money. In the end, I think you'd get a lot more out of maintaining that relationship than you would from an over-spec'd machine. Just my two-cents.



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